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Are smartphones making us anti-social?

Are you guilty of phubbing? It's the habit of snubbing those around you and staring at your smartphone instead. CBC’s The Current explores whether smartphones are ruining social interaction or bringing us closer together.

Is ‘phubbing’ rude or the new normal? Is society now a "sea of stupid?"

Some people worry that smartphones are destroying young people's social skills. Others disagree. (CBC)

Are you guilty of phubbing? It's the habit of snubbing those around you and staring at your smartphone instead of listening to them. CBC’s The Current explores whether smartphones are ruining social interaction or bringing us closer together.

Jason Perlow, a columnist and senior editor for the technology news site ZDNet.com, observes that nowadays, people are often inappropriately fiddling with their phones during business meetings, while out to dinner with other people, or in various social family situations. He notes that teenagers are particularly prone.

“I think that we are learning to essentially disregard life around us,” Perlow told Anna Maria Tremonti, host of The Current. Perlow wrote in a recent column that smartphones are turning society into a “sea of stupid.”

But not everyone agrees. Music and technology writer Bob Lefsetz believes that smartphones are helping us connect with other people. He acknowledged that rude smartphone use is a problem, but he says the pluses of smartphone use far outweigh the minuses.

Meanwhile, David Engber, a columnist with Slate.com, says that while it is natural for parents to worry that smartphones are destroying kids’ social skills, “it’s also something that parents have worried about with every new technology,” from comic books to Walkmans.

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